For the past two years De Soto has been working to increase the availability of broadband internet services in the city, particularly in the areas south of K-10 where service is not currently available. Increasingly, the City is concerned that the state of existing data infrastructure lags significantly behind the rest of the Kansas City region, and has become a significant impediment to our economic growth and viability. There are significant portions of our city with no broadband internet options at all, and City leaders feel that the overall lack of private investment in data infrastructure has not prepared us for the growing demands of our current and future citizens and businesses.
In 2016 the Council formed a "Broadband Committee" to advance an effort to increase access to high speed data services throughout De Soto and the surrounding areas. Since its inception, the Broadband Committee has been actively engaged on several fronts to encourage broadband investment in our community. The committee’s efforts include reaching out to our existing internet service providers to encourage them to expand and improve their networks; working with our elected representatives at the state level to address the negative impacts of franchise legislation; encouraging internet service providers to consider building a network in De Soto; and investigating public-private partnerships to facilitate a fiber buildout.
In March of 2018 the Committee gave the Council an update that included a comprehensive background on the issue, dating back to the formation of the Broadband Committee in 2016. That report is available here.
In April of 2018, the Council authorized staff to distribute a request for proposals from service providers to build out a city-wide gigabit broadband network. The staff report from that meeting is available here.
The City received three responses from that RFP, and the committee spent the summer evaluating them and meeting with the respondents.
On September 6th, the Council selected RG Fiber of Baldwin City as the City’s service partner, and authorized the Broadband Committee to negotiate a formal contract for the project. The staff report from that meeting is available here. The video of the Council meeting discussion on this issue is available here: https://youtu.be/4JCUZ6vFSlg?t=3614
Since then, the Committee has been negotiating the contract with RG Fiber, and we hope to have the final version of that contract for the City Council to consider at the October 18th meeting. Once the contract is finalized, RG Fiber has committed to immediately start the network build in the areas south of K-10 with a deadline of 12 months to have service available to that area.